On June 5, the School Board accepted the appointment of Dan Fox as the new Principal of the Ames Middle School. His career began in the Saydel School District where he taught 6th and 8th grade mathematics, but he has ties to the Ames community, having earned both his undergraduate degree in elementary education, and his Masters degree in Educational Administration from Iowa State University.
His first administrative position was in Burnside, Iowa, at the middle school in the Southeast Valley School District, just south of Fort Dodge. “Middle school is a passion of mine. They are not elementary students any more, but they are not ready to be treated like high school students either. They still need guidance and help figuring out situations, and I love that about them.”Building relationships will be a primary focus of his at the middle school this year. “If we are not connecting with kids on a social and emotional level, it is very difficult to reach them academically. There is a huge correlation between relationships and engagement. When we improve and maintain those relationships, we will see a lot of other things happen.”
Dan was a unanimous choice for the position and Superintendent, Dr. Tim Taylor, was impressed with how he handled the “gauntlet” that all middle school principal candidates went through. After interviewing with an administrative team and becoming a finalist, he then interviewed with a group of middle school parents, staff, and students, and became the highest rated choice of all the candidates. “He has a vision, he understands school improvement and the importance of PLC’s (professional learning communities), the use of data, and MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support). These are cornerstones of the District education plan and I think he will be a fabulous fit for the Ames Middle School and our administrative team.”
One of the many things that appealed to Dan about coming back to Ames was the opportunities afforded to students. “Ames Middle School isn’t about one thing. There are many areas where students can participate: from athletics and music, to more specific extracurricular activities such as our math olympiad or science bowl. Students have opportunities to find out where they fit and where they can excel.”
With the school year approaching, Dan is excited about the teams that he will be apart of; from the administrative team across the District, to working with his teachers and staff at the middle school. It is this idea of a team approach that will help Dan achieve his number one priority of the year: to create positive relationships with students, amongst staff, parents, and helping to build a positive culture within the school and community.